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Key Quest - Play to Win. Play to the End.

by tj_wagner


I am a true Key Quest fanatic. I’m always asking my friends if they’re up for a game, or creating my own game to play with new people. I’ve even given my token names, and I’ll cheer for them as they bounce around the board. For the most part, I’ve had good luck with the games in that most have gone through fine and no one has ever quit on me. However, my luck doesn’t extend towards actually winning many of the games. The majority of my keys are silver - and I mostly play two player games. So, why am I still such a fan of this game despite my lack of gold keys? The answer is simple: the game itself is fun.

While the ultimate goal of a game is to win, I don’t play Key Quest purely for the shiny, gold keys. I play it because it’s fun. I’ve laughed many times while playing, especially the games against my friends. To me, the prizes are just the icing on the cake. I’ve just spent some time having a great time, and I still get a prize. Seriously, how many games give prizes to the person who was the farthest from the goal? It’s such a nice bonus and the perfect ending to a good game.

Yet, there is some controversy surrounding this delightful game and that is those people who purposely quit early in order to avoid ‘losing.’ I’m not talking about people who accidentally get booted or the times where a game ends abnormally. That can happen to anyone. No, I’m talking about the people who openly end games because they don’t want to accept any key less than gold.

So why would anyone quit early? Even if you don’t win a gold key, you still get prizes and the points you earned while playing. When you quit early, then no one gets any prizes. Seriously, this behavior is akin to saying, “If I can’t get the gold key, then no one can.” To me, it just doesn’t make sense.

The reasons given for this is that these players make a tidy profit from Key Quest, especially from the prizes. As it should be, the prizes you unlock with the gold key are usually the best. In fact, some people have won paint brushes from Key Quest. Since these people are using Key Quest as a means to earn neopoints, and there is a limit to 10 keys redeemed per day, it makes sense to them to make sure that those 10 keys are gold. Also, there is a worry that their time on the computer is limited, so they don’t want to ‘waste’ their time on a game in which they aren’t going to win top prize.

There’s one major problem to this mindset. If we all quit games in which we weren’t going to take top prize, then no one would ever win. The nature of competition is that for someone to win, someone else has to lose. The simple truth is that we all have to take turns and wait. Some times will be our turn to be in the spotlight, and other times we have to step aside and give someone else a turn. Besides, in Key Quest you still get prizes no matter if you take first place or not, so it’s not as if you’re actually losing. I’ve collected quite a few codestones from silver keys, in fact.

Also, quitting early doesn’t take into account the situation of your opponent. You know how much you have to play, but you have no idea how long the other person has. This may be their first chance to play, and they might not get many other opportunities. Simply stated, we know little to nothing about the person we are playing against. For all we know, this might be the first and last chance to play this great game.

I recognize that the people who quit early do so because they don’t want to accept another key and not because they want to keep someone else from winning. However, that’s exactly what happens. Sometimes, our intentions don’t matter as much in comparison to what actually happens. When someone quits, the game ends, so no one wins anything. While that may not be what an early quitter intended, they know that will be the result - so what’s really the difference?

As I read over this article, I can’t help but wonder if some of us have lost the fun of the game. I do enjoy winning, and I’ll never deny that. I’ll even do a little victory dance with my laptop when I win, but I have a blast at the games I lose as well. There was one game I had with a good friend. She had used so many different power ups, that I didn’t know when direction I was going and my keys didn’t stay the same color for 10 seconds. She skillfully won, and I still think of that as the best game I’ve ever had. It would be wrong of me to begrudge someone of prizes they have rightfully earned, and I’ll never do that. In fact, I have never quit a game - nor do I plan on it. Why start something you don’t plan on finishing?

In the end, I don’t think of quitting early as a strategy or a playing style. I feel it’s poor sportsmanship because you are effectively preventing another player from a deserved win. When you start a game, you should plan to stick around to the very end - win or lose. All games can be fun if approached correctly, and you can learn from those matches you don’t win. I’ve learned all about techniques and strategy from those players who kicked my token’s bottom, and it’s made me a better player. Who knows - maybe it’s time for a rematch to see if I can pull out a victory.

All remember to enjoy playing. Play to win, but don’t forgot the true purpose of any game.

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